‘Red Tails’ – Movie Review

Red Tails is the latest movie from the childhood destroyer George Lucas. It centres on a group of African American pilots in a training program who are faced by segregation who are grounded during World War Two but are finally called into duty where they need to prove themselves while rising their lives for a country that didn’t appreciate them. Right off the bat let me tell you that I was so excited for this movie, from the trailer it looked like George Lucas could actually redeem himself after ruining the Star Wars franchise. But I was so wrong, this film was absolutely diabolical.

The biggest flaw of the movie has to be the shoddy excuse of a script, written by John Ridley and Aaeon McGruder, both pretty unknown screenplay writers but that doesn’t always mean it will be bad, but in this case it really is. This script is just a massive ball of cheese, every word that comes out of the characters mouth just makes you curl up and cringe. Then again what did you expect from the same producing team as the Star Wars prequels, making this movie feel as though it was written by George Lucas himself.

The poor script makes for some characters that you just don’t care about, when you are watching all these impressive dog fights you couldn’t really care if they made it back or plummeted towards the ground, I know that sounds heartless but you really don’t care. The characters just have no depth or back story causing you to not care about them one little bit.

One positive thing in Red Tails is the amazing special effects that attempt to keep you entertained between the dreadful scenes where speech is exchanged. The only good scenes in this movie are scenes that take place in the air, yes they still have the occasional clichéd speech but the astonishing visual effects make up for that at times. I think I would have preferred this movie a lot more if they cut out of all the speech and it was just two hours of continuous dog fights.

All round the performances are pretty mediocre but the one actor that stood out was the always brilliant Terrance Howard. He has to be the only character that you slightly care about, but unfortunalty his good performance doesn’t make up for the script that basically ruins the whole movie. Even if this movie had great performances they wouldn’t have stopped the rest of the many failings.

All in all I really didn’t enjoy this movie, from the trailer it had so much promise, it looked like another feel good race movie but boy was I wrong. The gorgeous special effects couldn’t make up for the one dimensional characters that spurt out a spew of cheesy lines that no one in their right mind would think of saying aloud. Please avoid at all cost, it’s poor, very poor.

3/10

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Prometheus – Movie Review

I have been looking forward to this movie for so long. When I first heard Ridley Scott was planning on making a prequel to Alien I decided it was about time for me to watch it and unsurprisingly it blew my mind, after that I was desperate to see this movie. After viewing the first teaser trailer for Prometheus I was so impressed and I was anticipating it even more, now if you think they showed us too much in the trailer and gave away most of the plot, that’s because they did.

Prometheus centres on a group of explorers that travel to a distant planet in an attempt to find who created the human race. While there they manages to cause disturbances that put the fait of the human race out of their hands and it is their job to stop the race from falling.

Your first impressions of this movie will be how utterly beautiful it is, from the Scottish highlands to the inside of Prometheus this movie never fails to look stunning in every frame. The visuals of this movie causes it to become so immersive which really helps bring you into the universe. It’s just a shame that the look of this film couldn’t help you from ignoring all its other failings.

When talking about the acting in this movie it is a very mixed bag. Let’s start with the phenomenal, as always, Michael Fassbender, he absolutely carries this film; his portrayal of android David is Oscar worthy. It’s a great shame the same can’t be said about the rest of the cast, Noomi Rapace along with others are just remotely average but the worse acting in the film came from British actor Rafe Spall. I watched Pete Versus Life (Channel 4 sitcom starring Spall) and automatically noticed that Spall was a horrendous actor, he was bad in a comedic role but was even worse in Prometheus. Not only was his performance laughable it was just down right cringing, it didn’t help that the script created for that character was just silly.

The crew of Prometheus is far greater than that of Alien and that is possibly it’s biggest failing. Prometheus has a total crew of seventeen people, if you think that sounds too many, thats because it is. You don’t get involved with the characters and really don’t care about them when they start dropping like flies. Even with the characters that got the most screen time and the most development it still wasn’t enough for me to remotely care when fatality struck. All the characters in the movie were so one dimensional with extremely poor development.

Now I know there have been a lot of unfair comparisons to Alien but this is a prequel to the greatest sci-fi horror of all time and making a prequel that lives up to the original is a near impossible challenge, unfortunately Scott doesn’t manage to do it. Alien was so groundbreaking at the time of its release so it is kind of unfair to compare the two but it needs to be done. The thing that made Alien so amazing was how simple it was, mixed with the long nervous silent scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat through the whole movie, unfortunately Prometheus had absolutely none of these. This movie wasn’t scary at all there were no suspenseful scenes keeping me on the edge of my seat. I feel as though Scott attempted to take on way to much which caused the movie to become very muddled with it not knowing what story it was trying to tell.

I know it sounds like I am bashing on the movie but I did actually like it, yes I was hugely disappointed but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. I would recommend this to any fans of Alien just so they can give their own opinion on it, I know people who love it and people who hate it and I’m in the middle. Prometheus is predictable, messy and not the prequel I wanted but it my be the one you did.

7/10

‘The Avengers’ – Movie Review

First thing I need to say isn’t really related to The Avengers but thought I would express my views on the matter. I am utterly pissed off that there was no new Dark Knight Rises trailer shown before the movie, the only reason I can think of is because they must be releasing it with the American release not the UK one because we get a week early but there was an amazing Prometheus trailer I hadn’t yet seen. Anyway onto the movie.

The plot of The Avengers is simple, bad guy – Loki – tries to take over earth, that’s about it. This isn’t really a bad thing though, this movie is already two hours twenty minutes so with the inclusion of a deep plot the film would have been even long. But to be honest you aren’t really looking for an intense plot filled with metaphors and hidden meanings, all you really want is to go and have a great time and thats exactly what you get.

As I said there isn’t really much plot going on here but what there is plenty of is character depth, Joss Whedon does a fantastic job of giving these characters so many levels that we never knew they had. This added depth to the characters really causes us too feel for them in their moment of hardships. The character I ended up empathising for the most was actually Black Widow which actually surprised me a great deal. But that’s thing that Whedon does really well, he is used to developing characters and yet again his fantastic writing does it again here.

Now if you had your doubts about Joss Whedon’s directing ability then let me reassure you that you can put those fears to bed. Some of the shots he creates are absolutely stunning making for what will be some very iconic scenes from the movie. Not only did Joss Whedon direct this action filled roller coaster he also put pen to paper and wrote it, as I said the plot isn’t exceptional but the dialogue is utter brilliance. Every word out of Tony Stark’s mouth is absolutely hilarious making this funnier than a lot of comedies I have seen.

Everyone knows the standard of the acting that is typically found in these Marvel movies, it’s pretty good but nothing really amazing. You don’t expect much from the actors  but if this is your first Marvel movie, I don’t know why it would be, but then you will be surprised by the above average quality.

Robert Downey Jr. obviously returns as the obnoxious and downright funny billionaire, Tony Stark. Everyone has seen this role before so you don’t really see anything new here but you know what, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t gotten old. As usual Robert Downey Jr. performs brilliantly, displaying one of the best performances of the movie adding some comedy to an otherwise action filed adventure.

Downey Jr. isn’t the only one that shines here, Mark Ruffalo – who I am a huge fan of – plays Bruce Banner/ the Hulk brilliantly making for my personal favourite Hulk’s we have seen to date and there is nothing I wish more than for him to get his own movie after this, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. Ruffalo also supplies us with many laughs throughout the movie and he also gives us a collection of the best action sequences in the whole movie with his “Hulk smash!”

We see the return of Tom Hiddleston as the menacing Loki and he plays the role absolutely beautifully. The first shot we get of Loki is harrowing which is mastered by the combination of Hiddleston’s devilish performance and Whedon’s gorgeous directing. Loki not only makes for a horrifying villain but his chemistry between Downey Jr. as Iron Man is priceless. If you weren’t fond of Loki in Thor – like I wasn’t – your mind will be changed here he truly is an evil person making for an iconic villain.

Chris Evans and Hemsworth show us the performance you expect from seeing them in their individual Marvel movies, they aren’t show stopping but are good enough for this movie. I feel as though the best moments of acting are when all of the Avengers are together, the chemistry between them is perfect, they all have their own different relationship between each other that can swap from hatred to best friends in a matter of minutes.

Now the one thing that you don’t have to worry about in this movie is any of the main characters being pushed aside. When I first saw the trailer I thought that this will end up being Iron Man & Co. but trust me it isn’t, all of the characters you want to get all the screen time they deserve. Maria Hill played by the brilliant Cobie Smulders is one of the very few characters that gets pushed to the side, but she was never really regarded as one of the main characters although I would have liked it if she had a bit more ass kicking to do. Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow makes a brief appearance which literally lasts a minute but you don’t really care about that as this movie really isn’t about her.

The Avengers isn’t exactly perfect, there was one thing I wasn’t too fond of and that is that these movies are starting to feel far too familiar. Apart from the stature of this movie in comparison with others it doesn’t really vary it’s self from the other Marvel movies – Paramount Pictures – the direction has the same old comic book action style which you can spot in all the other movies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I can see many people starting to tire of it.

If you are a loyal reader of mine then you know that I am not the biggest fan of 3D, I feel as though it is usually useless and extremely overpriced, the same can be said here. I didn’t feel as though the 3D was necessary, if it was it would have been filmed in 3D and not post converted like most films are these day. The 3D wasn’t used like Avatar to fully engross me in the world, it just felt like it was there and there was nothing really too it, I know I would have enjoyed the film just as much in 2D.

The thing The Avengers does best is what it set out to do. It isn’t trying to be a dark superhero movie with a serious tone – like The Dark Knight – and that’s good because trying to compete with that is a ridiculous thing to do. The Avengers tries to be a comic book action-filled, Hollywood blockbuster and you know what it does that perfectly. I don’t think you will be able to compare this and the later released comic book movies this year – Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises – because it is so different.

I am just worried about how the sequels/spinoffs from this are going to be able to live up to it, this is the greatest threat the earth has faced and I don’t see how a single film focusing on Iron Man can live up to that. I will hate to be the first film made after this because it will be compared A LOT saying how it just didn’t live up to The Avengers and that’s sad. I also wonder how long they going to be able to keep going for, I mean someones going to want to leave soon, what are they going to do? Just trade actors hoping we won’t notice.

Trust me, if you are a fan of superhero movies then you will fall in love with this movie, it is the movie we all wanted and expected, Joss Whedon has done us all proud and for that I would like to you thank you very much. Now I can’t wait for the directors cut with all that footage that Whedon was made to chop out. I feel as though this is the perfect start to a Summer filled with brilliant movies.

10/10

Foo Fighters: Back And Forth – Movie Review

Let me start off by saying you probably won’t be interested in this movie or review if you aren’t really a Foo Fighters fan, but if you are an openminded person this movie will change your whole opinion of Dave Grohl and the band that he created. Back And Forth centres on the greatest rock band around today, Foo Fighters, it travels back to Grohl’s experiences withNirvana from the creation to the fame to the heartbreak. The film then moves on to take us on the journey of the creation of the phenomenal rock band, Foo Fighters. As you can probably tell already I am a Foo Fighters fan, before watching this movie I liked them a lot but after viewing this documentary I fell in love with them and now a massive fan. Hopefully this film can convert you too.

The documentary doesn’t follow the typical formula, instead of having a single person narrating a collection of clips the story is told through a series of interviews with current and former band members. I felt as though this adds a very personal feel to the film as you hear the stories first hand from the people who actually experienced it.

The last act of the movie is centred on the creation of their new album, Wasting Light, which in my opinion their best album and it is throughly interesting to see the complete process that they went through to make it. I feel as though this is the best part of the whole movie is as it moves away from the interviews and it becomes more driven by footage from Grohl’s personal studio which gives you a glimpse into the bands personal lives.

While watching there were a few parts that really stood out for me, the first being when William Goldsmith found out that Grohl had rerecorded all the drums on one album. This moment made me finally see that even the nicest man in rock – Grohl – can do horrible things. The second was of course when Foo Fighters reached their prime, when they played their biggest gig at Wembley, this was the moment were you think “woah, they really are the best band in the world!” The final moment was the production of the song I Should Have Known, this is personally my favourite song on their new album because through the song and in this documentary you can see that this song is so thoughtful and has come from so deep inside Grohl. I have so much respect for him for what he has been through and all that hardship comes through in this section of the movie.

If you aren’t a Foo Fighters fan I would still highly recommend this to you, if you are at all a fan of music and it’s creation I can guarantee you will love this movie as much as I did and afterwards you will realise how many astonishing songs they really have and you will want to go back and visit their whole discography.

10/10

‘The Hunger Games’ – Movie Review

When I first heard about The Hunger Games I was extremely uninterested, that lack of interest didn’t change after we saw all the trailers and clips. I had no plan on ever seeing this movie in the cinema, but I managed to get hold of a free pair of tickets so I thought why not. I went into The Hunger Games not expecting much at all boy was I wrong, I went in already hating the franchise and came out loving it.

The Hunger Games is an adaptation from the extremely popular book written by Suzanne Collins, I had the feeling that this would be another franchise like Twilight, filled with diabolical acting and a twisted and unnatural story but again I was wrong. Yes the story of The Hunger Games is a little twisted, set in the distant future where we all live in separate districts, the capitol runs a yearly show called The Hunger Games, they obtain a boy and girl aged between twelve and eighteen to fight to the death in The Hunger Games, there can only be one victor.

I can’t be one to comment on how good of a job they did adapting this from it’s source material as I never read the books, from what I have heard they have done a pretty great job seeing as though they have left out very little from the book which makes the two hour twenty minute run time understandable. That was one problem that I had with the film, the length. I thought it was just ten minutes or so too long, I didn’t get bored one bit in the film but I did think while sat there watching it that it did feel to long.

The length of this film wouldn’t have been bearable without the surprisingly great acting from Jennifer Lawrence. She really did surprise me, I know she has delivered great performances in the past in films such as Winter’s Bone, but you just expect this franchise to be filled with unbearable acting but you know what it wasn’t. Another actor that I thought deserves a worthy mention is Stanley Tucci he outperforms most other people on screen just like usual. The one actor that I was not keen on was Josh Hutcherson, with him in it I felt as though he was their ticket into the young adult audience. His performance was the weakest throughout the movie and I couldn’t help but think that his performance felt incredibly forced. A big disappointment is the chemistry between Lawrence and Hutcherson, or should I say the lack of chemistry between them.

After watching The Hunger Games it left me feeling as though I wished they had rated 15 (UK) with a bit more violence, I did feel as though it was very toned down just so that it would appeal to the same audience as Twilight. 

Probably the biggest failing in The Hunger Games is the characters, I’m not sure if this was a failing in the book or just the film but some characters relationships feel extremely rushed and when their relationships come to an end you don’t feel as emotional as you should do just because the relationships were so rushed so you didn’t have enough time to fully engage with them.

It may seem to many of you that I am bashing The Hunger Games but I’m really not, I liked it a lot but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. But one thing The Hunger Games does right is it’s beauty, it’s amazing how the style of the film goes from a dark and depressed scene in the first act and then into the second which is filled with extravagant colours. The capitol has been astonishingly created out of CGI and on the big screen it really looks breathtaking with many shots that show off its true beauty.

I did really like The Hunger Games even if it was a little long and didn’t have some relationship development I would have liked to have seen. I just hope that the other two films don’t become poor sequels to this very good film. If you are an avid reader of the books I can imagine that you will love this movie and will probably be one of your best of 2012. Jennifer Lawrence really does carry this film acting wise, she shines just as bright as fire. This film may feel a little young adult for many of you but I still highly recommend this to anyone, please go and see it this weekend.

8/10

‘Detachment’ – Movie Review

Detachment is a movie that centres on a substitute teacher who moves from class to class finally finding a connection with teachers and students in his latest school. Detachment stars Adrien Brody as the substitute teacher, Henry Barthes. Detachment reminds us all that indie films can still be absolutely astonishing. This isn’t the first movie that depicts the failings and horrors of the American education system but it is really one of the greatest I have seen. Detachment comes from director Tony Kaye the same filmmaker who bought us the phenomenally emotional movie centring on serious issues of race, American History X. When I first saw the trailer for this movie I was desperate to see it and now I finally have I can safely say it is worth every minute of your time.

The performances in this movie is where it really shines, Adrien Brody is absolutely breathtaking giving one of his finest and most powerful performances ever. You can really tell that he is putting his heart and sole into this role and it reiterates to us why he won an Oscar as this is another Oscar worthy performance on his behalf. Brody isn’t the only one that shines in this film, James Caan offers a occasionally comedic but in the end dark performance of a permanent teacher at what seems to be the worst school in America. But the number of big names in this films makes it feel more like a cameo-fest than a film filled with great actors.

The direction of this film is also beautiful, making the film look extremely stylish with flashback shots in a dark sepia toned picture showing us Henry’s puzzled past. Tony Kaye gives us all an extremely dark look into what school is really like these days and that leads to an intense roller coaster that many people aren’t ready to ride but trust me it is seriously worth it.

The relationship between Henry Barthes and the 15 year-old prostitute Eric whom he is trying to save from slipping further into the dark side of life is miraculous which becomes extremely rocky at times making for some of the films most dramatic moments.

Detachment is a very dark and powerful film that takes a lot out of you when watching it, I have so much love for this movie that I don’t know how to put into words but it really is the greatest film I have seen this year and you can expect to see it on my top movies of 2012 list at the end of the year. Detachment is a seriously thoughtful movie that will make you think about how important and delicate life really is.

9/10

Blu-Ray Review – ‘Stand By Me’

The Movie:

Stand By Me centres on a group of young friends that go on a hunt looking for a missing boy. Stand By Me has been called one of the greatest coming of age stories ever, and you know what, I totally agree with that. This film is phenomenal, the acting from the four young boys is great, its a shame we don’t see them in more films these days; we occasionally see Will Wheaton on screen in episodes of The Big Bang Theory but that is about it really. But the four main actors Wheaton, Phoenix, Feldman and O’Connell supply the perfect amount of wit, sensitivity and emotion throughout the film not making for a single dull moment.

Stand By Me is a classic and it is hard to find a reason why someone wouldn’t love this film. It has become the film that we all use to remember the great actor River Phoenix and how astonishing an actor he was. It is a timeless film that will forever be known as the greatest coming of age story ever told.

10/10

The Picture:

Stand By Me in blu-ray looks as beautiful as ever, while keeping its 80’s it still manages to look great on any set-up you have. Occasionally getting a few lightly grainy scenes really shows the age of this film but the colours are still there and as vibrant and stunning as ever. The part of the film that really shines in 1080p is the pie eating contest with Lard Ass, the colour of the blueberry vomit really bounces off the screen making for a great looking scene. There are some low points in the remastering however, the darker scenes can seem a little murkier and some shadows are not as clear as they could be. That being said I  would still recommend this blu-ray to anyone, fans of Stand By Me will love the restoration making for a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

8/10

The Sound:

Stand By Me ships with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, the sound gives the film a really cinematic feel. No, this film doesn’t have any explosions, car chases or fast paced action to really push the audio but the sound quality really adds to the cinematic experience in a lot of scenes. Where the sound really shines is the scene in which the train is chasing them, that scene will really bring your home cinema system to life. The dialogue sounds just as good as it always did with very it feeling natural. All the sounds are really done well here giving you an overall nicely polished remastered update to the films sound.

9/10

The Extras: 

  • Stand By Me music video
  • Documentary featurette
  • Audio commentary with Reiner 
  • A video reunion with Reiner, Wheaton and Feldman, along with picture in picture commentary

All but the video reunion were special features that were on the original DVD release of Stand By Me back in 2000. The video reunion with picture in picture commentary is great, it is really nice to see Wheaton and Feldman back together again after 25 years, their conversation is lively and great fun. If you love this film then you have to watch this picture in picture it is brilliant, it’s just a shame River wasn’t there to join them as well. The featurette is quite good, it’s just the typical featurette you get with all films nowadays but it is great to see Stephen King in it.

8/10

The Verdict: 

This is a great update for anyone who loves this movie. Stand By Me is a rememberable film that will stick with you for ages and it is defiantly worth picking it up on blu-ray. If you already own the DVD and are a huge Stand By Me fan then this is a must get as that picture in picture extra is the selling point. This is highly recommended with a great remastering in both sound and picture and also a plethora of extras for you to feast your eyes on.

9/10 

Will you be picking up Stand By Me? Feel free to tell your thoughts on this film below. Thanks again for reading.